- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- NASA pushing hard to get back into space game
- Harvard student to face federal charges for bomb hoax
- Ronnie Biggs of ‘Great Train Robbery’ fame dies, 84
- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
- Putin: Russia to buy $15 billion in Ukraine bonds
- Expert: Obamacare ‘death spiral’ fears exaggerated
- Alabama firefighters dig for survivors of apartment blast
- Big Sur wildfire destroys home of firefighting chief
Feds: Man arrested at L.A. airport with weapons, smoke grenade isn’t cooperating
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man arrested at Los Angeles International Airport wearing a bulletproof vest and flame-resistant pants is not cooperating with federal officials working to discover why he was headed to Boston with a suitcase full of weapons, authorities says.
Yongda Huang Harris, 28, was taken into custody recently during a stopover on a trip from Japan when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noticed he was wearing the protective gear under his trench coat, triggering a Homeland Security investigation.
A search of Mr. Harris‘ checked luggage uncovered numerous suspicious items, including a smoke grenade, knives, body bags, a hatchet, a collapsible baton, a biohazard suit, a gas mask, billy clubs, handcuffs, leg irons and a device to repel dogs, authorities said.
Mr. Harris has not cooperated with authorities attempting to interview him, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation Tuesday.
The official said Mr. Harris, who was taken into custody Friday, is not believed to be linked to a terrorist organization. His motive, however, has not been determined, the official said.
Mr. Harris has been charged with one count of transporting hazardous materials, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He made a brief court appearance Tuesday, but his arraignment was delayed until Friday and he was ordered held until then.
Mr. Harris is a U.S. citizen whose permanent residence is in Boston, though he recently started living and working in Japan, officials said. Attempts to reach Mr. Harris‘ family in Boston and his associates were unsuccessful.
His attorney, Steven Seiden, was unavailable to comment, said Chris Williams, a spokesman for Mr. Seiden, who also represents Mark Basseley Youssef, the man behind the anti-Islam video that recently sparked violence in the Middle East.
It’s unclear what Mr. Harris had on his body and what he had checked in baggage, which will be crucial information to the defense, said Mr. Williams, who declined to comment on why Mr. Harris was carrying any of the weapons.
“It raises a lot of questions, and those questions will need to be answered. Right now, the case is very early,” Mr. Williams said.
The defense attorney’s spokesman described Mr. Harris as “very intelligent,” earning A’s in high school and college calculus.
The smoke grenade was X-rayed by police bomb squad officers, who said the device fell into a category that is prohibited on board passenger aircraft.
Such a grenade “could potentially fill the cabin of a commercial airplane with smoke or cause a fire,” federal officials said in a news release.
Many of the other items that authorities say they found in Mr. Harris‘ luggage — including the hatchet and knives — wouldn’t violate Transportation Security Administration guidelines for what is permissible in luggage that is checked. Also, bulletproof vests and flame-resistant pants are not listed among items prohibited aboard flights.
However, customs officers Kenny Frick and Brandon Parker believed in their initial investigation that the lead-filled, leather-coated billy clubs and a collapsible baton may be prohibited by California law, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Top Democrats reject court ruling over NSA spying on Americans
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- White House is obstructing probe on Navy Yard shooter, NSA leaker, Darrell Issa says
- We told you so: Conservatives foresaw polygamy ruling
- Colorado revolt: 55 of 62 sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws
- Senators in rush to pass budget vow to undo cut to military retirement pay
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
Uncensored exploration of issues concerning current events, civil liberties, American political advocacy, and the political and social issues facing military veterans.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow